As we celebrate Mother's Day across the Western Hemisphere, one has to wonder why we call a house a "home"?...
Here's Wikipedia's definition of "home":
"A home is a place of residence or refuge comfort. It is usually a place in which an individual or a family can rest and be able to store personal property.........As an alternative to the definition of "home" as a physical locale, home may be perceived to have no physical definition--instead, home may relate instead to a mental or emotional state of refuge or comfort."
So what is it that makes a place (i.e. a house) a home? I would venture to say that we owe our mothers the creation of the "mental and emotional state" for the physical place where we live, and that we call 'home'. Mothers are the ones (sorry guys, this is usually the case) who decorate and make sure the house becomes a "nest" for the family - a predictable, cozy, comfortable and personal place where you can feel safe and where many memorable experiences take place.
As a REALTOR, I am very glad that through my job I can help buyer clients find their ideal place. And I watch in amazement as they take ownership and transform the physical place they "inherit" from the previous owner (or in the case of new construction, the perfect but "sterile" shell the builder provides) into a warm, hospitable, personalized 'home'.
Ownership surely makes a big difference on how third parties feel about a house! It is fairly easy to tell whether the current residents of a home rent or own. It can be felt in the level of care, the decoration and in the small details. Homes that are the principal residences for their owners normally show pride, personality and care (while many rental properties do not).
Home ownership provides immediate tax benefits and long term potential for financial stability and for increasing net worth. But it also provides much more than that. It creates a sense of belonging, permanence and pride that is reflected on how well people may fit within their community.
The U.S. has a relatively high home ownership percentage (about 2/3 of Americans own their own home) - it has been part of the modern "American Dream". Recent events in the last few years have placed a dampener on this concept, with foreclosures and credit tightening making it more difficult to become an owner. But it is still relatively easy to own, compared with other countries.
Whatever the tangible benefits of home ownership are, we must be thankful that our mothers have taken it upon themselves to make "homes" out of our houses. Thanks Mom, and Happy Mother's Day!